Tibetan Singing Bowls Playing Instruction
Gently tap the mallet against the side of the bowl to "warm-up" the bell.
With an even pressure, rub the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the rim of the bowl. Use a full arm movement, just like stirring a big kettle of soup, and keep the mallet straight up and down! Again, it's not a wrist movement, but a full-arm movement.
Remember to apply pressure-- the friction of the mallet against the
outer rim produces vibrations which result in sound.
E.xperiment with your speed. Usually people go too fast! Let the sound build up slowly as the singing bowl picks up the vibration
In Buddhist practice, singing bowls are used as a support for meditation, trance induction and prayer.
Singing bowls are unique because they are multiphonic instruments, producing multiple harmonic overtones at the same time. The overtones are a result of using an alloy consisting of multiple metals, each producing its own overtone.
While it is generally believed that the traditional manufacturing techniques are lost, there are new hand-hammered bowls being produced in the centuries old tradition. The difference is the quality of the alloy and the aging process itself. The tone improves as they age.
Traditionally, antique singing bowls were made of Panchaloha (literally meaning "five metals" in Sanskrit): a bronze alloy of copper, tin, zinc and iron and other metals. The exclusive Gold Series bowls avaialable at Tulku Design include silver, gold and nickel. Their popularity is due to their fine craftsmanship and remarkable sound.
The most prized Antiques bowls include "sky-iron" from meteorites and tektites
The art of making singing bowls in the traditional way is often called a lost art, but craftsmen do still make singing bowls in the traditional manner in hidden corners of Nepal but few contain sky-iron.
One reason for the popularity of bronze as a material is the strong anti-bacterial properties of copper. Silver, also a constituent of many singing bowls, has strong anti-bacterial properties as well.
New singing bowls are made from bronze just as the antiques were. However, the bronze alloy does not contain gold and silver as some of the antiques or Gold Series Bowls.
The best hand made examples are made in Nepal.